Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has claimed that people living in the state are “less afraid” of COVID-19 because they believe in “eternal life” — despite a spate of new infections and hospitalizations.
Reeves made his comments to a group of Republicans last Thursday during a fundraiser in Eads, Tennessee, according to the Daily Memphis.
“I’m often asked by some of my friends across the aisle about COVID…and why does it seem like people in Mississippi and maybe in the mid-south are a little less scared, let’s say,” said Reeves .
“If you believe in eternal life – if you believe that life on this earth is just a speck on the screen, then you don’t have to be so afraid of things,” he said.
Reeves added: “God also tells us to take the necessary precautions. And we all have the opportunities and possibilities to do that and we all should. I encourage everyone to do that.”
Governor Tate Reeves (pictured) points out that people in the state were ‘less afraid’ of COVID-19 because they believe in ‘eternal life’ as infections and hospitalizations reach new record levels
COVID-19 cases in Mississippi between April 2020 and July 2021: As of August 28, Mississippi registered 2712.75 positive cases. The highest one-day total was recorded on August 22, when a record 5,048 new cases were reported
Mississippi COVID-19 cases and deaths as of Aug. 29 report 151 deaths in the past seven days, making it one of the worst affected states in the country
Mississippi has the second lowest vaccination rate in the US, with 38% of the population fully vaccinated. Only Alabama is worse.
Magnolia State also recorded 25,102 cases in the past week, compared to 22,998 the week before, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The death toll in the state has also risen to 230 in the past seven days, from 140 a week earlier.
On Friday, Mississippi registered 4,041 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths
State health officials are at a breaking point as 93 percent of the state’s ICU beds are full and 63 percent are in use by COVID-19 patients, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
At some hospitals, tents had to be set up in parking garages to accommodate the overflow of patients.
Hospitals in Mississippi have so few beds for patients that tents have to be set up in parking garages. Pictured: A staff member walks out of one of the four wards that make up the 32-bed Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital set up in one of the University of Mississippi Medical Center parking garages
State health officials are at a breaking point as 93 percent of the state’s ICU beds are full and 63 percent are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Pictured: Staff set up portable beds that are part of the 32-bed Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital in the parking garage of the University of Mississippi Medical Center
Reeves, who has refused to introduce a mask mandate in schools, has previously criticized measures to slow the spread of the virus issued by public health officials.
In July, Reeves told his supporters that the CDC’s new measure to wear masks indoors to reduce transmission “smells like political panic, so it looks like they’re in control,” the Associated Press reported.
Two weeks ago, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced an order to isolate all state residents infected with COVID-19 for 10 days or potentially face up to five years in prison.
The order, issued by state health official Dr. Thomas Hobbs, asked Mississippians to “immediately isolate at home on first knowledge of infection with COVID-19,” regardless of vaccination status.
Individuals found violating the warrant’s rules will be fined $500 and could face six months in prison.
If a life-threatening situation exists, then a person’s “failure or refusal to obey the lawful order of a health officer is a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to five years or both.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Mississippi has recorded 427,640 cases and 8,2790 COVID-19-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.